Hauler's injury in preparation for work trip falls outside his employment
Case name: Pryor v. Cassen Transport, 20 ILWCLB 199 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2012).
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission held that a truck driver's injury while lifting a suitcase into his vehicle in preparation for an over-the-road work trip did not arise out of and in the course of employment.
What it means: In Illinois, a worker's acts in preparation for a work-related trip prior to leaving his home are not within the course of employment, as the worker's work-related travel has not yet begun.
Summary: A car hauler was preparing to leave his home and travel to his employer's headquarters to pick up a truck for an overnight trip. He was lifting a suitcase into his personal vehicle when he injured his back. The arbitrator denied benefits, explaining that the hauler was considered a traveling employee from the time he arrived at the terminal, loaded his vehicle, delivered his vehicle to a destination, and returned to the terminal. The arbitrator concluded that the hauler's act of lifting an overnight bag was not sufficient to put him in the course of his employment. The commission affirmed and adopted the arbitrator's decision, pointing out that the hauler had not left his home at the time of the accident.
The risk of injury was a personal risk and was not sufficiently connected with the employment to be considered a risk peculiar to his work. The commission noted that the hauler's travel for work had not yet begun when the accident occurred. Therefore, his injury was not compensable.
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April 18, 2013
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